Gary here. As my last assignment was a little on the long side I shall do my best to keep this one nice and brief while (hopefully) showing you all how I record into my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). I chose this topic as I really enjoy playing and recording music and am eager to try out some of the techniques we learned about working within a DAW.
I will discuss this under the following headings:
Pre Production: Chose your weapons
Watch me go!!: A short video of the recording process.
Pre Production: Chose your weapons
Before you start any recording you need to have a few important things. Before anything else you need to be in the right mindset. I have often sat down to play something out of boredom and rarely has it yielded any positive results. If you are excited to play and work through an idea you have or just jam, if you really throw yourself into the process you will not only create something of significance but you will have a lot more fun. After you are sufficiently enthusiastic you will need a few things to get started with recording.
Here is what I use:
I am primarily a guitarist so I work out all ideas on my guitar. I use a Squire Telecaster.
I use a Roland Sh-201. It is a synthesiser that also doubles as a midi controller so I can use it with software instruments inside the DAW
Microphone. I use a Behringer B-1 (Which is a single diaphragm, cardioid condenser mic. A fact I did not know until last week. Bless me and my ignorance.)
Digital Audio interface/Preamp
This is your link to the computer. All instruments will be connected to your DAW via this device. I am currently using the M-box 2.
Lots of various cables
You need to connect your instruments to your premap and your preamp to your computer. You may find yourself with a bundle similar to the one on the left. If so congratulations, you are now a musician. Clean up your cables will ya!!!
This is where you will do all your recording, mixing and editing. I currently use a Macbook Pro. The large track pad really helps for editing purposes. And it is very shiny and pretty.
This is software you will use to create your audio project. I am currently using Logic Pro 9. I find Logic to be more user friendly than Pro tools.
A kick ass idea
It could come from a quick jab of inspiration or a particularly successful jam but having an idea really helps you to get excited about the recording process and will help add structure to the project.
If you have some combination of the above you should be ready to record a song. Get practicing and when you know what you want and how you want it to sound you can move onto the next section.
- Connect the preamp and start up Logic.
- Connect midi controller via USB.
- Create and name the new project and save to designated project folder.
- Set digital audio preferences: Sample rate 48Khz. Bit depth: 24 bit.
- Set file type: Aiff
- Hardware settings: I set Logic to use the Mbox as my input device. However, as my output I like to use the built in output (the computer). I have had issues with my (possibly faulty) Mbox in the past where the monitor volume does not accurately represent the volume of the final result. When using the built in output I have no such issues. Perhaps its time for a new preamp. Another thing to be aware of (at least in my experience using the SH-201) is that when you want to use the midi controller you will have to reconfigure your hardware settings. If it is connected by USB you will have to go back into your audio preferences and set your midi controller as your input device in order for the computer to recognise and use it with software instruments. Not the most ideal but it only takes a few seconds so suck it up!!
- Set Buffer size: 128 samples.
- Create and name audio and software instrument tracks, set input (I am using input 1 for audio tracks which are also in mono).
- Set volume levels. Get the levels so that the loudest point does not go into the red on the volume meters or cause distortion. I will play some notes on the guitar and software instruments to adjust the volume levels.
- Enable click track and set count off.
- Enable record on the track you wish to record.
- Groove baby. Start recording.
- Listen back to your performance, re-record if necessary.
Watch me go!!
I have included a very short video showing some of the important things to consider when recording in Logic and an example of recording an instrument. It is best viewed as a companion to the written instructions above.
This section has been a massive eye opener for me. Things such as buffer size, bit depth, sample rate, and other things I haven’t covered in this post such as cross fading were always a mystery to me. I now realise that most of the problems I had with recording was due to an incomplete understanding of these terms and their functions. I am really looking forward to week three as mixing has always been a difficult area for me.
I hope you enjoyed this post.